I have less than 10 minutes to write this post so please forgive the intense brevity!
First a quote on the gorgeous patchwork quilt design created for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics:
In the concept design, every patch was infused with the history and personality of traditional crafts from each of Russia’s 89 regions: in a single tapestry we combined Uftyuzhskaya painting and Vologda lace, Gzhel and Zhostovo painting, Kubachi patterns and the flowers of Pavlo Posad shawls, Mezenskaya painting and Khokhloma, Yakutsk patterns, fabrics of Ivanovo and other distinctive Russian patterns. That is how we arrived at a modern, distinctive and unmistakeably Russian Look of the Games.”(See HERE for more on the Sochi quilt designs, including examples of the folk art it drew on.)
Sochi Olympic Opening = folktales coming to life!
If you haven't seen it - go find and watch! Many allusions to folktales, traditions, beliefs displayed in art, dance, film and theater.
My favorites: the Tolstoy tribute and Tchaikovsky's 'Spinning Lake' (the former = dance-theater par excellence, & the latter = wondrous + incredible physical physical feat!).
Adored the amount of regular people involved in behind-the-scenes and in performing (over 2 000 regular every day people), as well as world renowned artists, proving that with hard work, good design and planned timing ordinary people can make real magic too.
The opening ceremony was breathtaking, often incredibly beautiful, classical yet contemporary, very innovative, overall wondrous and technically marvelous.
Seriously, the tech side was perfect, (minus one, unfortunately very visible glitch), the technology used was cutting edge but felt classical and beautiful, and the best of all the arts - music, design, theater, dance, puppetry, film, animation, ballet, opera & more - were represented with uniquely Russian flair and the physical feats some of the performers had to pull off (LIVE!) were astonishing, yet looked effortless.
Folktales were represented throughout in story moments, in film, in images and motifs, in song, in pattern and movement.
The design of the banners for the Olympics reminds us that wonder stories are a strong part of Russia's heritage and still part of Russia's cultural expression.
The word that keeps appearing in the media across the world the day after the Opening aired is "fairytale", and they don't mean the 'glitter and happy endings' types. They mean the timeless, beautiful, rooted and often raw stories that remind us of who we are and guide our path to the future.
Out of time! Posting some pics from the opening, despite the fact that they do not do the performance (even the imperfect & heavily edited TV broadcast) justice! Seeing it all move is... magic.
Wish I had time to put this together better for you but hopefully it will be a good reminder for those who saw it and a prompt for those who haven't yet.